Ever have a dinner that is surprisingly good? This was one of them. I never have high hopes for anything based around a chicken breast. They’re frequently dry and tasteless. And, while I haven’t tried it, I’m sure that brining helps (yet another thing on my cooking to do list). But, when you get down to it, chicken breasts aren’t particularly exciting. In many ways, they’re the tofu of the meat eating world except they don’t readily take on other flavors as well.
Except, when I made Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons (I’ve been avoiding using the proper name as it’s a bit incongruous in a sentence), it was surprisingly good. It wasn’t a burst of flavor in your mouth but it was simple and it was good. The chicken wasn’t dry and had some good flavor but the sauce was very creamy and chickeny. It may not be something to serve to guests but it’s good for a weeknight meal.
I was particularly fond of the mushrooms (Angela doesn’t like them; and she also complains that I only say she doesn’t like things; she did like the chicken, so there). If you look at the pictures, you’ll think I had only a few but I didn’t ladle the rest of them out of the skillet until after taking the pictures. By the time I was finished, there were more mushrooms than chicken.
I should say, however, if you prepare this recipe realize that I did use a smaller chicken that I got from the farmer’s market. The breasts themselves were pretty small, probably only several ounces each; so the times may be different if you use a larger chicken breast. I’d suggest cooking to temperature instead of time.
I’m a bit surprised by this recipe as it doesn’t involving browning the chicken. Normally, browning meat is important for the development of flavor but not in this recipe. And I can’t say I missed it. Given that the chicken breast is small, a greater proportion of the flavor comes from the sauce and from the chicken stock in the sauce.
Suprêmes de Volaille aux Champignons (Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms and Cream)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp minced shallots
1/4 lbs. mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
2 tbsp chicken stock
2 tbsp white vermouth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Rub the chicken breasts with a small amount of the lemon juice and season with salt. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat until it is foaming. Add the shallots and sauté for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes more. Season with salt.
- Add the chicken breasts to the skillet and roll them in the butter. Cover the skillet and place it in the oven. Cook for about 7 minutes or until the chicken breasts reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and remove the chicken breasts from the skillet. Add the stock and vermouth to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until the liquid is syrupy.
- Add the cream and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until the cream is thickened. Remove from the heat.
- Season with salt and lemon juice as needed. Stir in the parsley.
- Serve the chicken covered with the sauce and mushrooms.